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With Giants in Minnesota, where would Griffith have gone?

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  • With Giants in Minnesota, where would Griffith have gone?

    I asked this on the main board, and got a few answers, but not many. I figured maybe people here, who don't go to the main History of the Game board, might have better ideas.

    A couple people did vote Atlanta, and maybe that's still a good idea. I'm just wondering, becasue I've heard a number of people say that the demographics would be just as big a problem for Griffith there.

    Then again, I'm trying to put together an alternate baseball where it's integrated from the beginning. An earlier end to the Civil War (1863, a couple months after a Union win at Chancellorsville), Lincoln survivng, and other factors push integration along earlier, though at a more moderate pace than OTL, so that a different president integrates the military after WW I, the '20s and '30s are the '60s lite, and by the end of WW II neighborhoods are pretty much integrated becasue lots of families of both races saw their loved ones fight in integrated units, then they came back and stayed together. This keeps Robert Moses from some of his plans for different neigbborhoods, Brooklyn keeps the Dodgers, but the Giants still have enough trouble that they move to Minnesota.

    So, in this case, Calvin Griffith has grown up on a slightly different world, and it's quite different by 1960. Would he, under these conditions, consider Atlanta? I always thought he would want an entire state to himself, like he did Minnesota, thus to increase marketing and television exposure.

    Or, would it be somewhere else? Toronto is a possibility, and while there was expansion to the west coast (long story short - the PCL has 4 teams absorbed into the bigs) San Diego would be open, but would it still be a bit small? Milwaukee may also be available (can't make that long story short :-), or even Philadelphia.
    9
    Atlanta - option almost good enough even in our timeline
    33.33%
    3
    Dallas/Houston, whichever is available, Texas a huge state
    44.44%
    4
    Denver - is was considered for OTL's Continental League
    0.00%
    0
    Milwaukee - similar to MN, no worries about Chicago teams nearby
    0.00%
    0
    Toronto - Cooke had done well, he'd have a whole country to work with
    0.00%
    0
    Somewhere else (specify)
    11.11%
    1
    He doesn't - the Senators could stay for a while, at least
    11.11%
    1
    If Baseball Integrated Early - baseball integrated from the beginning - and "Brotherhood and baseball," the U.S. history companion, at http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/Baseballifsandmore - IBIE updated for 2011.

    "Full House Chronology" at yahoo group fullhousefreaks & fullhouse4life with help of many fans, thanks for the input

  • #2
    Interesting question!

    As franchises started shifting in the early 1950s, there was lots of speculation about what teams would be moving and when?

    There is actually a published report that the Senators were considering a move to Los Angeles in 1956. You can read more here: The Los Angeles Senators?

    However, in that thread I noted that when the Los Angeles Angels first came into the American League in 1961, the Angels had to subsidize the travel expenses of visiting teams until the Athletics moved to Oakland in 1968. Angels owner Gene Autry reportedly had some pretty "deep pockets"-I can't imagine ol' tightwad Calvin agreeing to the same arrangement.

    Toronto might have been a logical choice as Calvin was originally a Canadian and the Senators wouldn't have had to stray too far from the eastern seaboard.

    My best guess though, would be Dallas/Ft. Worth. With the rival Athletics having moved to Kansas City, Dallas may have been a logical choice-not too far west and in the same region as the Athletics, allowing these two American League "rare do wells" to renew their rivalry for occupancy of the basement of the standings.
    Last edited by Aa3rt; 06-01-2007, 03:36 AM.
    "For the Washington Senators, the worst time of the year is the baseball season." Roger Kahn

    "People ask me what I do in winter when there's no baseball. I'll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring." Rogers Hornsby.

    Comment


    • #3
      Interesting - given the large minority communities in L.A., could it be that he wasn't as racist as he's sometimes portrayed as? Or is L.A. simply a large enough area that he figured he could draw fans no matter what? (I found 1951, at least, it had well over 600,000, and over a million in the general area.) (Montreal seems to have lucked out in getting a team just when expansion was coming around; I presume Griffith would go to Toronto rather than Montreal.)

      Perhaps the lure of a major city was enough to keep him from considering that; I wonder if Dallas at that time was big enough for him.Plus, if he was starting to worry about TV, Toronto would give him a major draw there. However, on the other hand, I wonder about the exchange rate and other things; might he deem it too expensive to move a team there. (Jack Kent Cooke could always build a stadium for him - perhaps in return for help with securing some ownership in the Redskins?)

      Dallas would be closer travel-wise than Atlanta. And, Finley wanted it first too. (I never could find out why - or why he tried for Oakland in '63 and then kept insisting on it.)
      Last edited by DTF955; 06-01-2007, 02:28 PM.
      If Baseball Integrated Early - baseball integrated from the beginning - and "Brotherhood and baseball," the U.S. history companion, at http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/Baseballifsandmore - IBIE updated for 2011.

      "Full House Chronology" at yahoo group fullhousefreaks & fullhouse4life with help of many fans, thanks for the input

      Comment


      • #4
        As I remember...and I was a bitter twelve-year-old when Calvin <the unnameable> moved to Minneapolis, most of those cities were too small in 1960.

        The ideal city had about 1 million people, and, too bad for Calvin, no-one thought much about including the suburbs in the count. Several of those cities were still AAA-size.

        Until the Giants and Dodgers moved to the west coast, teams pretty much always travelled by train. I remember they would work their way "west" to Chicago, finish a series with the White Sox, and take a day off to travel home.

        Dallas would have been too far, maybe too hot...just as we thought that Minneapolis was too cold. Wasn't their first home game snowed out? Likewise, Atlanta was a long way from Baltimore or Chicago.

        Toronto...good choice. A lake city, linked to Cleveland and Detroit.

        Of course, Griffith's most sensible choice would have been to take his newly good team into DC Stadium and fill it. The 1960 team nearly hit 1 million in attendance in a park that had about 25,000 seats...and many of those were either behind posts or far out in the bleachers (335/350 down the left-field line, 450 or so in center...I'm doing this from memory.)

        Ed Bennett Williams made the Redskins the hottest ticket in DC. With a respectable team, Griffith could have done the same.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by welch View Post
          As I remember...and I was a bitter twelve-year-old when Calvin <the unnameable> moved to Minneapolis, most of those cities were too small in 1960.

          Of course, Griffith's most sensible choice would have been to take his newly good team into DC Stadium and fill it. The 1960 team nearly hit 1 million in attendance in a park that had about 25,000 seats...and many of those were either behind posts or far out in the bleachers (335/350 down the left-field line, 450 or so in center...I'm doing this from memory.)
          Actually, the 1960 team, the last year of the ORIGINAL Senators in Washington, drew a grand total of 743,404 attendees while finishing with a 73-81 record. The stadium capacity was listed at 35,000 seats.

          The EXPANSION Senators started in 1961, also playing in Griffith Stadium. They finished with a 61-100 record and 597, 287 attendees.

          1962 saw the opening of DC Municipal (now RFK) Stadium, with the team going 60-101 and an attendance listed at 729,775.

          BTW-Welch, welcome aboard! Glad to see someone else on here who remembers the original Senators. I've mentioned this here before, but my maternal grandfather was a Senators fan and a big admirer of Walter Johnson. When Calvin moved the team after the 1960 season, my grandfather pretty much lost his interest in baseball. I was 7 years old at the time and didn't understand the difference and became a fan of the exansion Senators-never could understand why Grandpa refused to embrace the expansion team until I got a few years older. I still can't mention Bob :grouchy Short without sticking in an expletive somewhere.

          You might want to check out Baseball-Fever's sister site, Baseball Almanac.com (link at the bottom of the page). I often go there to refresh my oft-times, over-50, faulty memory.
          Last edited by Aa3rt; 06-04-2007, 03:50 AM.
          "For the Washington Senators, the worst time of the year is the baseball season." Roger Kahn

          "People ask me what I do in winter when there's no baseball. I'll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring." Rogers Hornsby.

          Comment


          • #6
            Aa3RT, thanks for the welcome. You'll force me to go back to my 1960 Senators year-book to look up the capacity at Griffith Stadium. My memory, though, is that it was officially 25 - 30,000 for baseball, and as much as 35,000 only for football. They would put temporary seats in the baseball right-field, which, otherwise, was a giant homer-blocking scoreboard.

            For a good description of the 1960 team, and why Calvin would have done well in DC, find a copy of David Gough's "They've Stolen Our Team" (1997, out of print, but maybe available through Alibris or Abebooks).

            Gough quotes Shirley Povich: "'It isn't quite true that they [the Senators] weren't drawing. Relative to the teams they had, they were drawing very well. And he [Calvin] took the team out just at the time it was maturing and blossoming'. An increase at the gate of 128,000 fans over the previous year and the highest total since 1949 was all but ignored".

            Gough describes opening day, 1960: "A packed house of 28,327 baseball-hungry fans cheered four Washington homers..." Bob Addie, who covered the Nats with Povich for the Post, said that the 1960 team probably would have drawn 1 million fans -- a very big deal in that era -- if Griffith Stadium had had more than about 20,000 good seats.

            What was so exciting about 1960? After breaking the major league record for consecutive losses in 1959 with a team having four power-hitters, one great starter, sloppy infielding, and poor catching, '60 Senators held a spot in the first division, playing above .500 ball, until the end of the year...even though Killebrew and Pascual were in and out with injuries.

            The Washington area went wild. It really was a baseball-town, although people loyally backed the Redskins -- while constantly criticizing George Preston Marshall for running the Skins through the bottom of the NFL's barrel with his policy of segregation.

            Would suburban fans have driven to the Pascual / Versalles / Allison / Killebrew Nats at DC Stadium? Sure. Suburban fans drove to Griffith Stadium, which had no real parking -- think how long it took to drive down Rhode Island, or Georgia, or Wisconsin Avenues to get downtown. DC / RFK Stadium actually has parking lots...amazing in the '60s.

            For a feeling of baseball support in 1960, remember how you felt when the 1969 "new" Senators finished above .500. Then consider that the "old" Senators had 60 years of roots in town. Fans had watched the team trade away Jim Busby, Mickey Vernon, Pete Runnels, and Eddie Yost, and had suffered through eight solid hopeless losing seasons.

            Finally, the 1960 team was good. If you went to a game, you had a 50/50 chance of seeing the team win. Allison, Lemon, or Killebrew might crack a line-drive half-way up the left-field bleachers...oh, what a sound, and what a sight! If Pascual was healthy, he might strike out more than half the batters he faced (struck out 15 in the opener) and take a no-hitter deep into the game. Earl Battey was a fine catcher -- finally a catcher. The team had a decent infield, and in September they brought up a spectacular shortstop, Zorro Versalles...future all-star. We could see the future, could see a good team. At last.

            That makes me think the "old" Senators would have drawn fans.

            Comment


            • #7
              Thanks for the votes - it's funny because this is the exact reverse of what people thought on the history board - a vote for Houston and the others for Atlanta.

              It might have all depended on what Roy Hofheinz did, too - if he had a team he could own himself, perhaps he'd want one of his own for Houston.

              I also wonder if Griffith might be a little timid about moving into Canada - witht he baseball integrating early thing, I think it'll be Atlanta; becasue the Deep South does seem to be popular, Finley's not in K.C. yet, and the early end to the Civil War means no march through Georgia; which probably has effects on population later.
              If Baseball Integrated Early - baseball integrated from the beginning - and "Brotherhood and baseball," the U.S. history companion, at http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/Baseballifsandmore - IBIE updated for 2011.

              "Full House Chronology" at yahoo group fullhousefreaks & fullhouse4life with help of many fans, thanks for the input

              Comment

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